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New York Window Washing Accident Lawyer

November 1, 2009
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As a New York Injury Attorney, Michael Joseph is thoroughly familiar with the Labor Laws which protect injured New York Window Washers. An injured window cleaner who falls from an elevated work surface can sue under Labor Law § 202.The New York Court of Appeals has held that the injured window washer can bring both claims simultaneously. Our Westchester window washer accident lawyers are among the most experienced work place injury lawyers in the County.

Among other activities, Labor Law § 240 (1) applies to workers engaged in the “cleaning” of a building. Whether a window’s exterior or interior is being cleaned is irrelevant, rather, liability turns on whether a particular window washing task creates an elevation-related risk of the kind that the safety devices listed in Labor Law § 240(1) protects against. The Courts have recognized that Labor Law § 240 applies to window washers who are injured while cleaning a 10-foot-high interior window. Swiderska v. New York University, 10 N.Y.3d 792, 856 N.Y.S.2d 533 (2008).

Labor Law § 240(1) imposes a non-delegable duty upon building owners to furnish proper safety devices and protection in order to ensure the safety of workers exposed to elevation-related risks. Jamil v. Concourse Enters., 740 N.Y.S.2d 308, 310 (N.Y.A.D. 1 Dept. 2002).

A building owner who fails to provide adequate safety devices required by Labor Law §240 is absolutely liable in damages for injuries which are proximately caused by the breach. Labor Law §240(1) liability is contingent upon the existence of a hazard contemplated in section 240(1) and the failure to use, or the inadequacy of, a safety device enumerated therein.

Where a ladder does not prevent plaintiff from falling and no safety devices, other than the ladder, are provided, defendants have violated Labor Law §240. Deng v. A.J. Contr. Co., 680 N.Y.S.2d 223 (N.Y.A.D. 1 Dep’t. 1998).

A worker’s contributory negligence is not a defense to a Labor Law §240 cause of action. It is irrelevant whether plaintiff’s ladder tipped because plaintiff lost his balance or whether plaintiff fell off the ladder without it having tipped at all, because plaintiff’s negligence irrelevant. In other words, if safety devices which would have prevented plaintiff’s fall were not provided, plaintiff is entitled to summary judgement. The failure to provide a ladder which is secured against movement is a violation of Labor Law §240 per se.

Labor Law § 202 states that the owner of every public building and every contractor involved shall provide such safe means for the cleaning of the widows and of exterior surfaces of such building as may be required and approved by the Industrial Board of Appeals. Labor Law § 202 further states that the owners shall not permit or allow any window to be cleaned unless such means are provided to enable such work to be done in a safe manner for the prevention of accidents and for the protection of the public and of persons engaged in such work in conformity with the requirements of this chapter and the rules of the Industrial Board of Appeals. 12 N.Y.C.R.R. 21.3(B)(2) requires building owners to have structural features and anchors or other fixed devices for the worker’s protection prior to allowing any person to clean a window.
Injured window washers in New York have powerful legal rights to force building owners to compensate them for their injuries.

 
The Law Offices of Michael H. Joseph